What Are the Benefits of Taking Screenshots?
Are you old enough to remember having to take written notes from a textbook or blackboard? If only we’d had screenshots back then! It would have made studying a whole lot easier if we could have grabbed all that information with the single click of a button.
Nowadays, of course, taking screenshots is an everyday occurrence. Whether we want to capture a regrettable celebrity Tweet, record a strange text conversation, or save useful online information, screenshots always have our back in the event of retracted messages, deleted posts, disappearing websites, and hard-to-find information.
But, many of you may not be using screenshots to their full potential. That is, if you even know how to take a screenshot with your new phone! Keep reading to find out more about screenshot benefits and how to take them on different devices.
What Is a Screenshot?
Also called a screencap, screen capture, or screengrab, a screenshot is a photo of the exact contents of a screen’s display, whether on a phone, laptop, or other devices. Screenshots enable you to capture exactly what you’re seeing on your screen to view or share later.
Each screenshot records all information available from your point of view, including the time, your battery level, and more. This makes screenshots invaluable for preserving today’s most important anthropological artifact – screen-based information. In fact, some people even believe that they’re the most important thing on the internet.
What Are Screenshots Used For?
Once taken, a screenshot serves as a useful resource for everything from learning to verifying our side of the story. Here are some of the main uses for screenshots:
Instant Information Capture
You might not have a photographic memory, but your phone does! Screenshots as a photo-taking tool are especially useful for recording information that will disappear after a certain amount of time, such as an Instagram story. And, while you can save online images, bookmark articles, and refer to your search history, anything that anyone else posts online could soon move or disappear altogether. And, it’s much faster to take, save, and send a screenshot of an address, discount code, recipe, or other information than it is to note it down or tell it to someone.
Screenshots are also very useful for saving information you may have to access when the internet connection is poor. For example, a boarding pass or QR returns code is much easier to access on your phone when it’s in the form of a screenshot. This way, if the airport or store doesn’t have great reception, you already have a backup image.
The way that screenshots enable us to record and save all the information on our private screens can also act as a form of shareable proof. While this could be as innocent as recording an unexpected message from your crush to show your girlfriends, screenshots can serve as evidence of online abuse.
Being able to capture a full screen of information with a single click is a valuable tool for people who would otherwise need to take extensive notes during virtual lectures and presentations. This means you won’t be stuck writing down the information from one slide and then miss the new information being presented live. And, if the information is more complex, such as an infographic or chart, having an exact replica saved will make your notes a lot easier to refer back to later.
Visual Instruction Reference
Screenshots are a valuable tool for anyone trying to teach or explain a specific idea or skill to another person, especially if it involves visual or online information. A screenshot shows exactly what a screen should look like so that the other person can model it without anything getting lost in translation. Whether you’re collaborating with a remote teammate on a project or trying to teach your parent back home how to use WhatsApp, screenshots help make everything clearer.
How to Take a Screenshot
Now you know all the different ways you can use them, it might help if you know how to take a screenshot on all your various devices:
iPhone or iPad
For iPads and older iPhones, pressing the home button and lock button at the same time will take a screenshot and save it to your camera roll. For more recent iPhone models, you’ll need to press the volume button and the lock button at the same time.
Pressing the power button and home button at the same time will take a screenshot on many different Android phones. If your model doesn’t have a home button, press the power button and volume down button at the same time to take a screenshot.
For taking screenshots on a Mac, hold down Command + Shift + 3 on your keyboard at the same time. To take a screenshot of a section of the screen, hold down Command + Shift + 4 instead. This allows you to use your mouse to draw a rectangle around the area you’d like to capture.
You should then be able to find the screenshot in your desktop folder. Or, if you prefer, you can click here: https://setapp.com/how-to/save-mac-screenshots-in-icloud and follow the instructions to save your screenshots to iCloud.
The easiest way to take Windows laptop screenshots is to press the Windows button + PrtScn at the same time. This saves your captures in a “Screenshots” subfolder of your “Pictures” folder. To capture part of the screen, search in the start menu for “Snipping Tool”. Click “mode” then select “rectangular snip”, then draw the area you want to capture. Click on File > Save As to save the screenshot to your image file.
For a full-screen image, hold down Control + Show Windows. The screenshot will then appear in your Downloads folder. For a partial screenshot, hold down Control + Shift + Show Windows, the draw a rectangle around the area you want to capture.
Your Guide to Taking Screenshots
As this guide shows, taking screenshots is an easy and effective way to save information for future use.
Whether you want to keep it for yourself or share it with others, learn from it or use it as evidence, a screenshot provides a facsimile of the information you once saw on your screen.
Want more insightful advice and tech updates? Be sure to check out our other blog posts for all the latest tips and tricks!